Parliamentary Secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister Deepak

the indian diaspora

Toronto— Parliamentary Secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister Deepak Obhrai will represent Minister John Baird at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit in Ahmedabad from January 11-13.

“I will also open the Canadian Pavilion at the Vibrant Gujarat,” he told The Indian Diaspora in a telephone interview on Dec 20.

“I will also be attending the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) convention from January 7-9,” Obhrai, a former recipient of the PBD Samman Award, said.

Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce will once again be taking a business delegation to India that will coincide with the PBD in Gandhinagar. Obhrai will be the deputy leader of the delegation.

As per the understanding between Prime Ministers of India and Canada in 2009, the trade was expected to reach $15-billion by 2015 but the current two-way trade has reached only $6-billion, a far cry from the target set by two prime ministers.

To this, Obhrai said, “At this time there are a couple of things that require approval – uranium and potash. Both are energy sectors. These are key to our reaching $15-billion target… We want to be part of India’s growing energy needs, as well as potash and other areas will also continue,” Obhrai explained. “There is also a strong Indian investment in Canada.”

Obhrai was part of Canada’s ministerial delegation in October and he, along with Minister Baird,   International Trade Minister Ed Fast and Canada’s new High Commissioner-designate Nadir Patel, met PM Modi on October 12. During that meeting, the main thing that PM Modi was “looking at was strong Canadian investment in India. Pension fund is one area he very strongly highlighted. Another area was health sector. India has very strong health sector,” Obhrai explained.

In this regard, the Indo-Canadian leader also noted recent opening of the Alberta government office in New Delhi, as well as recent opening of Canada trade office in Bangalore.

“So, these are multiple areas where movements are taking place.” He also noted about the change of government in India. Obhrai made a reference to his earlier statement saying “Modi is pro-business leader and hopefully he will take India forward, and also business relationship between our two countries.”

On Jan 10, Obhrai will also receive the Global Visionary Award, presented by the Vision World Organization of Ahmedabad. “A distinguished past recipient of this award is PM  Narendra Modi,” said Obhrai.

From India, this Indo-Canadian leader will fly to Nepal to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and Nepal. “I will be there to see where Canada can be of assistance to development in Nepal.”

(Ajit Jain is Canada Editor of The Indian Diaspora. He can be contacted at

This story originally appeared on The Indian Diaspora.